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Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2010 Jan-Mar;23(1 Suppl):56-60.

Paediatric upper respiratory infections: the role of antibiotics.

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  • 1Department of Child and Maternal Medicine, the Melloni University Hospital, Milan, Italy.


To review current clinical evidence for the use of antibiotics in paediatric upper paediatric respiratory infections, repeated PubMed searches using the template algorithm -rhinosinusitis/otitis/ tonsillitis AND ()- with the settings: -Humans; English; All Child 0-18; Clinical trial; Review; Methanalysis; Guideline; Last 10 years- for the following comparators: antibiotic; amoxicillin; clavulanate; penicillin; cephalosporin; macrolide; erythromycin; rokitamycin; clindamycin; trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, cefopodoxime, cefdinir, cefuroxime, ceftriaxone. The authors clinical experience in the paediatric allergy unit of a University hospital was also drawn upon. A narrative review was drafted to update paediatricians on the topic. Many paediatric studies and guidelines were retrieved satisfying current evidence-based medicine standards. There are stringent indications for antibiotic use in URTIs. The paediatric use is widespread raising doubts on their appropriate prescription in many countries. Evidence for the efficacy of antibiotic treatment for paediatric URTIs is available and this treatment should be included in individualised patient protocols on the basis of the clinical literature. Caution must be posed at the local level taking in account epidemiologic and microbiologic data to avoid overprescription.

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